June 15th, 2012

An experienced and well-regarded security official who has worked with the NBA and the Olympic Basketball team for many years has filed a lawsuit against the women’s team coach. She says that the coach made unwanted sexual advances towards her while they were traveling with a team in Russia in 2009. She refused his advances and said that immediately afterwards he displayed hostility towards her and spoke poorly of her to the team.

The woman has worked for the USA Basketball team for the past two Summer Olympic games in Athens and Beijing and had planned to work on the London games this year. In a conference call with league officials she learned that the coach had instructed the league that she should not work with his team.

The league says that the reason for the coach’s request had nothing to do with the sexual harassment incident in 2009. The woman complained to league officials immediately after the incident and they supported her actions during the incident, and she says she was prepared to leave it in the past.

The league has had other incidents of sexual harassment allegations among the security ranks in recent years, including a complaint by another security official that female employees were being sexually harassed and discriminated against. That lawsuit is ongoing.

The NBA settled two other suits in recent years, both involving the security team.

The woman said that she regrets having to file the lawsuit and is worried that it will jeopardize her future in the organization saying, “I do enjoy my job, but I don’t really feel I have a choice. I’m being marginalized for standing up for myself.”

Source: New York Times, “Suit Claims UConn Women’s Coach Retaliated After His Sexual Advance was Rebuffed,” Michael Powell, June 11, 2012.

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